2016 Vol. 7, No. 4

Display Method:
Perspectives of Science and Technology in Disaster Risk Reduction of Asia
Rajib Shaw, Takako Izumi, Peijun Shi
2016, 7(4): 329-342. doi: 10.1007/s13753-016-0104-7
Science and technology innovation has always been present in Asia, but its application in disaster risk reduction (DRR) has been differential. In Asia, globally significant hotspots of disasters and economic development have emerged in which the application of science and technology in DRR has become an essential requirement for informed decision making. Science has supported establishment and implementation of major international initiatives in DRR, including the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005–2015. The more recent Sendai Framework for DRR 2015–2030 recognizes the importance of science and technology in all of its priority action areas, and subsequent global and regional forums and conferences have reconfirmed science and technology’s importance. To perceive and monitor the progress of science and technology in DRR, a qualitative assessment of different countries is made using three major attributes: (1) science-based decision making; (2) investment in science and technology; and (3) the intensity of science’s link to the public. This assessment exercise points out several strengths and weaknesses in science and technology application; the method can be employed to develop future multistakeholder and multidisciplinary science and technology plans at the country level. To implement regional and national activities, a set of 15 recommendations is put forward, which will strengthen the collective regional “science voice” in DRR.
An Institutional Model for Collaborative Disaster Risk Management in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region
Mmaphaka Tau, Dewald van Niekerk, Per Becker
2016, 7(4): 343-352. doi: 10.1007/s13753-016-0110-9
This article presents and argues for a collaborative model for disaster risk management in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The research employed a qualitative study through a literature review and empirical research through focus group interviews to realize its objectives. As a key theory of multinational collaboration, neoliberal institutionalism—a subset of the international relations theory—was used to develop the SADC institutional collaborative model. The model combined the theoretical, political, and technical dimensions of collaboration to enhance buy-in for the disaster risk management and reduction function of governments. The model demonstrates the need for a multidisciplinary approach to achieving disaster risk management and reduction in the SADC and elsewhere, if the developmental objectives of disaster risk reduction are to be realized without interference in the domestic affairs of the member countries. This model is therefore grounded in seeking consensus and cooperation among cooperating states in a quest to ensure national implementation of the regional framework on disaster risk reduction.
Using a Game to Engage Stakeholders in Extreme Event Attribution Science
Hannah R. Parker, Rosalind J. Cornforth, Pablo Suarez, Myles R. Allen, Emily Boyd, Rachel James, Richard G. Jones, Friederike E. L. Otto, Peter Walton
2016, 7(4): 353-365. doi: 10.1007/s13753-016-0105-6
The impacts of weather and climate-related disasters are increasing, and climate change can exacerbate many disasters. Effectively communicating climate risk and integrating science into policy requires scientists and stakeholders to work together. But dialogue between scientists and policymakers can be challenging given the inherently multidimensional nature of the issues at stake when managing climate risks. Building on the growing use of serious games to create dialogue between stakeholders, we present a new game for policymakers called Climate Attribution Under Loss and Damage: Risking, Observing, Negotiating (CAULDRON). CAULDRON aims to communicate understanding of the science attributing extreme events to climate change in a memorable and compelling way, and create space for dialogue around policy decisions addressing changing risks and loss and damage from climate change. We describe the process of developing CAULDRON, and draw on observations of players and their feedback to demonstrate its potential to facilitate the interpretation of probabilistic climate information and the understanding of its relevance to informing policy. Scientists looking to engage with stakeholders can learn valuable lessons in adopting similar innovative approaches. The suitability of games depends on the policy context but, if used appropriately, experiential learning can drive coproduced understanding and meaningful dialogue.
Farmers’ Risk Preferences and Agricultural Weather Index Insurance Uptake in Rural China
Jianjun Jin, Wenyu Wang, Xiaomin Wang
2016, 7(4): 366-373. doi: 10.1007/s13753-016-0108-3
The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of farmers’ risk preferences on their decisions to purchase the agricultural weather index insurance based on the evidence from a household survey and field experiments conducted in Yongqiao District, Suzhou City of Anhui Province in China. Our empirical results show that farmers’ risk aversion significantly increases the probability of their decision to buy weather index-based crop insurance. Other factors that significantly influence weather index insurance participation decisions include farmers’ subjective beliefs on the probability of crop losses, farming experience, education level, farm size, and their household income. The empirical results of this study can provide helpful insights for policymakers and local insurers to further improve farmers’ participation in weather index-based crop insurance.
Effective and Sustainable Flood and Landslide Risk Reduction Measures: An Investigation of Two Assessment Frameworks
Yvonne Andersson-Sköld, Lars Nyberg
2016, 7(4): 374-392. doi: 10.1007/s13753-016-0106-5
Natural events such as floods and landslides can have severe consequences. The risks are expected to increase, both as a consequence of climate change and due to increased vulnerabilities, especially in urban areas. Although preventive measures are often cost-effective, some measures are beneficial to certain values, while some may have negative impacts on other values. The aim of the study presented here was to investigate two frameworks used for assessing the effectiveness and sustainability of physical and nonphysical flood and landslide risk reduction measures. The study is based on literature, available information from authorities and municipalities, expert knowledge and experience, and stakeholder views and values. The results indicate that the risks for suboptimization or maladaptation are reduced if many aspects are included and a broad spectrum of stakeholders are involved. The sustainability assessment tools applied here can contribute to a more transparent and sustainable risk management process by assessing strategies and interventions with respect to both short- and long-term perspectives, including local impacts and wider environmental impacts caused by climate change, for example. The tools can also cover social and economic aspects. The assessment tools provide checklists that can support decision processes, thus allowing for more transparent decisions.
Measuring County Resilience After the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake
Xiaolu Li, Nina Lam, Yi Qiang, Kenan Li, Lirong Yin, Shan Liu, Wenfeng Zheng
2016, 7(4): 393-412. doi: 10.1007/s13753-016-0109-2
The catastrophic earthquake that struck Sichuan Province, China, in 2008 caused serious damage to Wenchuan County and surrounding areas in southwestern China. In recent years, great attention has been paid to the resilience of the affected area. This study applied the resilience inference measurement (RIM) model to quantify and validate the community resilience of 105 counties in the impacted area. The RIM model uses cluster analysis to classify counties into four resilience levels according to the exposure, damage, and recovery conditions. The model then applies discriminant analysis to quantify the influence of socioeconomic characteristics on the county’s resilience. Analysis results show that counties located at the epicenter had the lowest resilience, but counties immediately adjacent to the epicenter had the highest resilience capacities. Counties that were farther away from the epicenter returned to normal resiliency quickly. Socioeconomic variables—including sex ratio, per capita GDP, percent of ethnic minority, and medical facilities—were identified as the most influential characteristics influencing resilience. This study provides useful information to improve county resilience to earthquakes and support decision making for sustainable development.
Multi-criteria Satisfaction Assessment of the Spatial Distribution of Urban Emergency Shelters Based on High-Precision Population Estimation
Jia Yu, Jiahong Wen
2016, 7(4): 413-429. doi: 10.1007/s13753-016-0111-8
This article introduces a framework for the multi-criteria satisfaction assessment of the spatial distribution of urban emergency shelters. A GIS-based analytic hierarchy process approach was utilized to conduct the assessment based on selected criteria layers for daytime and nighttime scenarios, respectively. The layers were generated from high-precision land use data based on high-resolution aerial images and census data. Considering the uncertainty in criteria weighting, a spatial sensitivity analysis was undertaken for deriving more accurate results. The feasibility of the framework was tested on a case study in Jing’an District, Shanghai, China. The assessment results show that both at nighttime and during daytime, even if all potentially available shelters are open, the demand in large areas can only be marginally satisfied or not satisfied, especially in the northern, eastern, and central parts of Jing’an District. The quantitative analysis of the satisfaction conditions of the buildings or land parcels and the affected people, especially children and the elderly, shows a low satisfaction level of shelter services in these areas. The satisfaction assessment of emergency shelters can help government decision makers find low satisfaction areas of sheltering services and support further location-allocation optimization of urban emergency shelters.
Convergent Agency: Encouraging Transdisciplinary Approaches for Effective Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction
América Bendito, Edmundo Barrios
2016, 7(4): 430-435. doi: 10.1007/s13753-016-0102-9
Three recent global agreements have been established to facilitate the implementation of global-level responsibilities to deal with disaster risk reduction (DRR), human development, and climate change adaptation (CCA) respectively. While these agreements have a common goal of reducing social, economic, and environmental vulnerability, they have been developed by largely independent communities of practice. This has limited cross-fertilization despite the inherent multidimensional nature of global challenges and the considerable thematic overlap. We argue that developing a transdisciplinary strategy that effectively integrates disciplines, approaches, and knowledge systems will lead to greater and more sustainable impacts, together with a more efficient use of financial resources. Hybrid approaches should be encouraged during planning of future development efforts so that risk reduction is conducted simultaneously with CCA. Transdisciplinary processes are central to generating context-sensitive knowledge to support decisions on CCA and DRR options that minimize trade-offs and maximize synergies and complementarities required to guide sustainable development trajectories. Finally, building codes together with climate and risk-smart research, education, and awareness raising, are identified as priority entry points to materialize the blending of DRR and CCA approaches and effectively reduce risk while mitigating and adapting to climate change.
Mobile Home Residents and Hurricane Vulnerability in South Florida: Research Gaps and Challenges
Shivangi Prasad, Justin Stoler
2016, 7(4): 436-439. doi: 10.1007/s13753-016-0101-x
In South Florida there are several social and logistical challenges to surveying and advocating for mobile home residents regarding vulnerability to natural hazards such as sea level rise and hurricanes. These residents have consequently been understudied despite historically exhibiting higher vulnerability and lower resilience. This exploratory study uses a social-ecological framework to highlight individual-, community-, and institutional-level challenges and research gaps encountered when working with mobile home residents. These observations represent a longer-term opportunity to further refine our understanding of natural hazard vulnerability, build increased resilience among vulnerable populations, and improve health equity in South Florida and beyond.
Controlling Town Industry Explosion Hazard in China
Huixin Yuwen, Xueqiu He, Xinming Qian, Mengqi Yuan
2016, 7(4): 440-444. doi: 10.1007/s13753-016-0103-8
This article introduces industrial safety issues encountered in the towns of China, points out the importance of damage control of industrial explosions and disaster management, and puts forward suggestions on safety design and management intended to reduce the frequency and impact of industrial explosions in Chinese town areas.
Healthcare Services Demand in Post-disaster Settings: The 2014 Earthquake in Ludian County, Yunnan Province, China
Ho Ting Wong, Sijian Li
2016, 7(4): 445-449. doi: 10.1007/s13753-016-0107-4
Healthcare relief teams dispatched to rural areas often face difficulties due to limited initial and ongoing health information in the affected community. The present study investigated patterns of healthcare service demand for a rural displaced population in a post-disaster situation. Three weeks after the 2014 Ludian County earthquake, the Institute for Disaster Management and Reconstruction (IDMR) at Sichuan University and Hong Kong Polytechnic University organized a disaster nursing team to support the rural community in Longtoushan, at the epicenter of the earthquake. A cross-sectional, records-based study of 2484 records obtained from a temporary hospital in Longtoushan (for the period of 14 September–1 October 2014) was conducted. The daily number of records by patients’ sociodemographic characteristics and medical diagnoses were plotted on a time series graph to explore the temporal change during the study period. Findings indicate that healthcare service demand from younger age groups was higher than that of the older adult group. Three major health problems were observed: respiratory disease, skin problems, and ear, eye, and throat (EET) problems. All of these very real health problems are chronic issues that require long-term care. They are not health issues directly related to the disaster emergency itself. Yet disaster relief nursing teams were selected on the basis of their ability to cope primarily with traumatic disaster-related injuries. The existing practice of teaming up disaster relief professions might not be optimal. To better understand the healthcare needs of a displaced population, short- and long-term planning is needed. Planning will allow disaster response professionals to better organize and deploy healthcare personnel to manage the above-listed problems in a post-disaster situation.